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St. Basil the Great, From his Letters

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

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Page 19

 Letter 52, To the Canonicoe


I HAVE been very much distressed by a painful report which reached my ears; but I have been equally delighted by my brother, beloved of God, bishop Bosporius, who has brought a more satisfactory account of you. He avers by God's grace that all those stories spread abroad about you are inventions of men who are not exactly informed as to the truth about you. He added, moreover, that he found among you impious calumnies about me, of a kind likely to be uttered by those who do not expect to have to give the Judge in the day of His righteous retribution an account of even an idle word. I thank God, then, both because I am cured of my damaging opinion of you, an opinion which I have derived from the calumnies of men, and because I have heard of your abandonment of those baseless notions about me, on hearing the assurances of my brother. He, in all that he has said as coming from himself, has also completely expressed my own feeling. For in us both there is one mind about the faith, as being heirs of the same Fathers who once at Nicaea promulgated their great decree concerning the faith. Of this, some portions are universally accepted without cavil, but the homoousion, ill received in certain quarters, is still rejected; by some. These objectors we may very properly blame, and yet on the contrary deem them deserving of pardon. To refuse to follow the Fathers, not holding their declaration of more authority than one's own opinion, is conduct worthy of blame, as being brimful of self-sufficiency. On the other hand the fact that they view with suspicion a phrase which is misrepresented by an opposite party does seem to a small extent to relieve them from blame. Moreover, as a matter of fact, the members of the synods which met to discuss the case of Paul of Samosata did find fault with the term as an unfortunate one.

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